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Transdermal vs. Intradermal: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
"Transdermal means through the skin, while intradermal means within the layers of the skin."
Transdermal vs. Intradermal

Key Differences

Transdermal refers to the administration of medications or the absorption of substances directly through the skin, targeting systemic circulation. Conversely, Intradermal implies the introduction of substances into the dermis, the layer of skin below the epidermis, typically for localized effects or testing, such as allergy tests.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 25, 2023
Transdermal methods often involve patches or creams that release medication slowly for systemic treatment. In contrast, Intradermal injections, like those used for tuberculosis testing, deposit a small amount of substance just beneath the skin surface.
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Dec 25, 2023
The transdermal route is chosen for its convenience and sustained release properties, beneficial for chronic conditions. Intradermal, however, is favored for its sensitivity in diagnostic procedures and vaccinations.
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Dec 25, 2023
Transdermal applications minimize gastrointestinal side effects and bypass first-pass metabolism in the liver. Intradermal injections, while minimally invasive, require precision as they target a thin skin layer.
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Dec 25, 2023
In transdermal delivery, the stratum corneum is the main barrier to absorption. In intradermal delivery, the focus is on the interaction of the substance with the immune cells in the dermis.
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Dec 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Route of Administration

Through the skin
Within the skin's layers
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Target

Systemic circulation
Dermis layer
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Common Use

Sustained release medication
Diagnostic tests, vaccines
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Method

Patches, creams
Injections
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Primary Barrier/Target

Stratum corneum
Dermis layer
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Transdermal and Intradermal Definitions

Transdermal

Pertaining to absorption through the skin.
The transdermal patch delivers medication continuously.
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Dec 25, 2023

Intradermal

Pertaining to the injection within the skin layers.
The intradermal flu shot is less invasive.
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Transdermal

Involving transport of substances through the epidermis.
Transdermal gels are used in hormone therapy.
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Intradermal

Describing a method for localized medication delivery.
Intradermal Botox injections target specific facial muscles.
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Transdermal

Relating to the administration of drugs across the dermis.
Nicotine is often administered transdermally.
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Intradermal

Involving administration directly into the dermis.
Intradermal tests are used for allergy screening.
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Transdermal

Describing a method bypassing the gastrointestinal tract.
Transdermal patches offer an alternative to oral medication.
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Dec 25, 2023

Intradermal

Referring to diagnostics performed within the skin.
Intradermal methods are used for certain vaccine administrations.
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Dec 25, 2023

Transdermal

Referring to the external application of drugs.
Transdermal pain relievers are popular for muscle aches.
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Dec 25, 2023

Intradermal

Relating to treatments targeting the skin's inner layers.
Intradermal injections are common in tuberculosis testing.
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Dec 25, 2023

Transdermal

Through or by way of the skin
Transdermal inoculation.
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Oct 19, 2023

Intradermal

Within or between the layers of the skin
An intradermal injection.
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Oct 19, 2023

Transdermal

Through the unbroken skin (as for example with measurements of blood glucose level with an optical glucometer using photometry or of oxygen saturation via pulse oximetry).
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Intradermal

Within the skin.
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Transdermal

A transdermal patch or implant.
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Oct 19, 2023

Intradermal

Relating to areas between the layers of the skin.
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Transdermal

Through the unbroken skin; refers to medications applied directly to the skin (creams or ointments) or in time-release forms (skin patches);
Transdermal estrogen
Percutaneous absorption
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Intradermal

Relating to areas between the layers of the skin;
An intradermal injection
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What does transdermal mean?

Transdermal refers to the delivery of medication through the skin to the bloodstream.
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Dec 25, 2023

What is an intradermal injection?

An intradermal injection is a method of injecting a substance into the dermis layer of the skin.
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Dec 25, 2023

Are transdermal patches effective?

Yes, transdermal patches are effective for steady, controlled medication delivery.
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Dec 25, 2023

What tests use the intradermal route?

Allergy tests and tuberculosis skin tests commonly use the intradermal route.
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Dec 25, 2023

Can transdermal methods be used for pain relief?

Yes, transdermal methods like patches are used for pain relief.
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Why is precision important in intradermal injections?

Precision is crucial to ensure the substance is correctly placed in the dermis for maximum effect.
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Are transdermal methods suitable for all medications?

Not all medications are suitable for transdermal delivery due to skin absorption limitations.
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Dec 25, 2023

Can transdermal applications cause skin irritation?

Yes, transdermal applications can sometimes cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
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Dec 25, 2023

What are the benefits of transdermal drug delivery?

Transdermal delivery offers benefits like reduced side effects and bypassing the digestive system.
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What factors affect transdermal absorption?

Skin condition, area of application, and the molecular size of the medication affect absorption.
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Dec 25, 2023

Is it safe to use multiple transdermal patches at once?

It depends on the medications involved; consulting a healthcare provider is essential.
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Is intradermal injection used for vaccines?

Yes, some vaccines are administered intradermally for effective immune response.
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Dec 25, 2023

How deep is an intradermal injection given?

Intradermal injections are given just below the skin surface, within the dermis.
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Dec 25, 2023

What is the duration of effect for intradermal injections?

The duration varies based on the substance injected; some provide immediate results, others are for longer-term diagnostics.
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Dec 25, 2023

How do transdermal patches work?

Transdermal patches release medication through the skin over time into the bloodstream.
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How quickly do intradermal injections show results?

Results can vary, from immediate reactions in allergy tests to several days in tuberculosis tests.
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Can intradermal injections cause scarring?

Rarely, if not done properly, intradermal injections can cause scarring or infection.
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Dec 25, 2023

Are intradermal injections painful?

Intradermal injections can be slightly painful but are generally well-tolerated.
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What are the storage requirements for transdermal patches?

Most require storage at room temperature, away from light and moisture.
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Dec 25, 2023

What's the main advantage of intradermal over subcutaneous injections?

Intradermal injections are more sensitive for diagnostic tests, requiring smaller volumes of the substance.
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Dec 25, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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